For discussion

June 8, 2011 | Feature | Number 12

1. What has been your congregation’s experience with divorce? Does the church respond differently to divorce than it did in the 1970s? Has divorce lost its stigma? Are those who are divorced still discouraged from taking positions of leadership in the church?

2. When is the break-up of a marriage a sin and when is it just an unfortunate situation? If the church responds with compassion, rather than condemnation, will that result in more divorces because it is now an acceptable option?

3. How can a congregation provide practical support for those whose marriages have ended? What could churches do to support the children of divorce? Is it inevitable that one church cannot embrace both parties after a separation or divorce?

4. How should the facts of a separation or divorce be communicated to the congregation? Is it important to acknowledge it openly? Do you agree that, “[s]peaking about the hard parts of life must happen at church so that compassion, not condemnation, is a first response to people’s pain”?

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